My doctor has suggested I try some cognitive-behavioral counseling for my chronic low back pain. I'm sure I have something wrong with my spine. How is this going to help me?
Cognitive-behavioral therapy or CBT is a way to help patients understand their beliefs about pain and how it is affecting their recovery. Studies have shown that our beliefs about pain are linked with pain intensity, psychologic distress, and even physical disability.

Patients who believe that their pain is an indication of ongoing disease are more likely to seek medical treatment and fail to return to work. In fact only 0.2 per cent of the back pain population have a true organic cause of their symptoms. The majority of chronic back pain sufferers have noninflammatory, mechanical low back pain. Theis means there isn't a serious underlying illness or disease causing the pain.

Pain beliefs are learned over time and can be changed. They have become a target of intervention as a means of modifying outcomes of treatment. CBT is an important tool to help move patients away from focusing on the negative aspects of pain.

Understanding the cause of your low back pain is important. Believing there is something seriously wrong with your spine when the condition is really noninflammatory can delay your recovery process. You may want to discuss this more with your physician. Find out why he or she has recommended CBT. It may help you move forward with a successful treatment program.